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Rarely do you feel such a connection to music. I’n the past i’ve pondered what would i do i could only choose music from one artist. Who would i choose? Well i have a vast collection and some passionate favorites. Notably from the 70’s and 80’s. The cult, GnR, Skidrow to name a few. However it always comes back to one band. The Beatles. When i got my first cassettes as an eight year old, i recall getting KISS dynasty, star wars and superman soundtracks and of course the beatles volume one. When you think of great music it is absolutely a personal thing, only appreciated by the individual.

If you ever get the chance to have a listen to The Black Crowes, you will be rewarded with great songs. They have been a great source of inspiration over the years in good and bad times.The main partnership in the band is the Robinson brothers, Chris and Rich. Their latest album Croweology spans their 20 plus year career with acoustic versions of their classics. Their back catalogue, has gems all through it some not on this double album, and worth a listen.

Move over Beatles ( sorry John), The Black Crowes have earned their place in my time capsule. Awesome. Long Live Rock n Roll in all its forms.

The Book Has Arrived

For those of you who love books take some time to check out The Book Depository in the UK. I think they have the cheapest books on the planet with free delivery in 8 days to Australia and they haven’t been late yet.

So today i received my new book The Complete Jerky Book by Monte Burch. The book offers a definitive approach to jerky making, including the two types of jerky, muscle meat and ground jerky. Monte also includes recipe’s for pemmican. Pemmican is an old style traditional trail food used by Native americans and trappers alike. It normally contains powdered beef mixed with fruits and nuts, dried of course.

I’m looking forward to making an old Burch family recipe in the next few weeks. When i’ve finished my first batch i’ll be sure to add some pics, it will be awesome!!!!

Blueberry Bagels

I recently did a half marathon and i thought that when i finished i would reward myself with a Bunch Of Blueberry Bagels. I really enjoyed eating them and then thought, hey why don’t i have a crack at making some. So i started to trawl the net for recipes, to no avail.

I found a great basic recipe from John D Lee on his hub pages. He is a gifted dude. I already checked out his earth oven and homemade bacon tutorials.I made some minor adjustments and i reckon they were awesome.

I just substituted the water for blueberry puree. My wife had a can of blueberries in the cupboard. I used them due to the syrup and then i pureed the fruit. The can size was 415 gram net weight and i use the whole can. I had to add  a little Flour to get the dough consistency right, bout 1/4 cup.  The key here to developing a great flavour was allowing the yeast to ferment with the puree. You really want to see some yeast activity here.I must admit that i cheat  a little. I have a great cuisinart food processor and i basically add the dry ingredients them pour in the wet ingredients. I then add the extra flour till the dough comes away from the bowl. By then it has some heat in it and is kneaded. Takes about two minutes.I then cut each piece (8 )and rolled and shaped immediately.I covered to rise for about 30 mins. Then they were boiled and popped in the oven @ 210 degrees centigrade on a baking stone for 10 mins. The texture is a little chewy( how i like it) and nicely browned on the outside. I’n not entirely sure if diehard bagel fans would give them the tick.

I think the ones we buy at the supermarket are steamed bagels. Mine had the right color and toasted up great with some butter or philly cheese.I just have to work on the shaping part. Here’s a few pic’s. Enjoy.

The sleep in

This is what we used to do before we had kids. Those were the days, now but a distant memory. So My Boy and i hatched a plan to do something nice for his mum, my wife. I found a super recipe for French toast. One of her favorites. I made a few adjustments to the recipe based on some of the reviews. Next time i’ll do it a little different. I think to really make this recipe an awesome one, take it to a new level by,

  • only using free-range egg whites
  • leaving the batter to stand in fridge overnight
  • sift in the flour and if you get some lumps strain
  • add one 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • make sure you have authentic maple syrup ready to go
  • freshly ground coffee
  • one large loaf of fresh bread sliced thickly

I’ll let you know how it went……

Over the last few weeks i’ve tried to master bagels.I found a simple and easy recipe to follow. John’s site is great he also responds to your posts. So I have a batch proofing now. My first attempt was a little heavy so i have adjusted the water and  more kneading time to develop the gluten. Hope they turn out yummy! I think its the texture that i really love and a few years ago i became addicted to them. Blueberry bagels…mmmmm.

well i’ll try to master the basic ones then start playing with the flavors. Keep an eye out for my other latest triumphs. Awesome pizza base and Homemade hard shell chocolate (ice magic), truly super sizzlin.

The gals are here

Recently i picked up my 5 hens from the battery hen adoption project. My neighbor also saved 2 hens. They really are doing well, not so many eggs just yet but alot of time spent growing feathers. I reckon they earned the right to chill.My mother in law assisted with

the claw cutting, they were so long the gals couldn’t walk properly, we initially cut over a centimeter of each toe. they really are having a ball, scratching up the leaves and fluffing in the dust bath. Their transformation has been spectacular. Most of the people who saw them when they first arrived were shocked by their condition. Very skinny, almost bald, with their beaks trimmed. They are really friendly happy to follow you round the yard. Go Girls.

What A Big day

Yesterday I was in the baking / cooking zone. Two loaves in the oven, one slice and homemade pasta to finish off. Tagliatelle with a smashing carbonara sauce. Really its amazing how simple pasta is to make and fresh and yummy it is. After dinner I started to watch Hugh’s chicken run. Honesty humans do some crazy things but watching this show about how we intensively farm chickens is really confronting. At 1.00 am in the morning I was scratching my head, thinking about the show I had just watched and how disgraceful we can be. So the question now is am I prepared to pay more for my chicken to get free-range or do I just pass on chicken altogether. Right now I feel like just passing altogether.

The reality is that i like chicken, portuguese chicken, BBQ chicken, homemade nuggets, but not if intensive farming is where i get my chickens from. These little chickens have a life span of between 35 – 39 days. A really shit 35 – 39 days, within those days only 30 minutes of darkness per day, sitting and walking if they can in their own dropping, ammonia burns on their legs etc etc. As Hugh puts it, ” free-range is fairer”, fairer for everybody and every chicken. If you have some spare time take a moment to watch Hugh’s chicken run, its the least you can  do. If you think that its not so bad, then do nothing! But maybe you could easily change some of your other shopping habits to spend a little more on Free-Range chickens and eggs and make a little difference. I’ll let you know how i go with my shop this week!

The message is i guess that if you want to eat animal products and meat at least make an informed decision. I’m Ok with the idea that the animal has had some sort of life before it is killed for food. I must also add that my family has dramatically cut back on the portion size on our plates at best 100g. So what we buy goes along way and i feel better for it. I’ve been reading a book by Kinko Denzer about building an earth oven in the backyard and this quote is directly from his book. Kinko is talking about bread machines when he made this statement but it holds true in many other ways. ” They take care of themselves. But if you don’t have to pay attention, you can’t participate, and if you don’t participate, you can’t know.” I interpret and apply this to food, when i say that so many of us want our children to think that meat especially comes from the deli section. Because if we associate it with the whole animal, then it has to live some where and we really don’t want to have to explain where somewhere is because if its out of site its out of mind and the poor practices don’t seem to matter. Kids probably don’t even associate what their eating as being part of any animal, its just the stuff that comes on a tray in bits from the deli section. I think we have a responsibility to educate our kids on where food comes from when its appropriate.

Artisan Style Bread

Something i have not tries to master till now is bread. I was really amazed at how simple it can be after a few test runs. I use the principles applied By Healthy Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes. The authors Zoe and Jeff have put together a really simple recipe and the no knead principles, make the process painless. I have found that kneading the bread before the second rise is more to my liking. Okay so i make my bread in 9 minutes! I encourage everyone to give it a go. The Authors make the effort to answer questions, trouble shoot and offer encouragement to keep you baking on their site. Seriously this a testament to their passion for bread making. If you buy their book you will get the tips, but i can’t think of any business that gives this service to their customers like Zoe and Jeff do. They are AWESOME. Buy the book. Today i made two loaves, Quinoa bread and the Oat, maple syrup, Date and walnut loaf. Their master recipe is also a daily staple in my home. Just the smell in the kitchen from the yeast and then the bread baking is amazing and just a lovely aroma. The kids are warming to the bread in their lunch boxes and for toast. Its Preservative and additive free and inexpensive to make when using the master recipe. To get you started use some of these recipes! Have fun and enjoy you’re bread.

Beginning my education

You’ve got to start somewhere right. Trawling the net, i stumbled upon an interesting read. Firstly i was disappointed to see that FREPA were not included in the choice testing. But what does free range mean and why are there so many definitions for what we take for granted when the term free range is used. It’s a scary world we live in when standards are referred to as being ‘humane’. Obviously if best practice doesn’t meet the standard, then how many thousands of birds / gals are being treated inhumanely. Just for cheaper eggs at the checkout. Please take the time to educate your self before you buy. Read the choice article, you may not be getting what you pay for and inadvertently be supporting exactly what your trying to stop.

I was wondering why people buy caged eggs over free-range. So there was only one thing i really could do. Ask Mum, she’s straight to the point, no sugar coating here. Her direct response went along these lines…..” well as you know i don’t really like eggs ( well i do now), and i can give you three reasons why i don’t buy them. 1\ I rarely eat eggs buy themselves, i only add them to cakes etc. 2\ they cost twice as much 3\ its all bullshit, they ( referring to a show she saw ) said that their aren’t enough free-range chickens to produce enough free-range eggs.” well she was right! So i did some digging around or scratching and i found an article that seems to substantiate her claim. scratching a little further i discovered these guys, FREPA. So again education is the key. Free-range isn’t always free-range and there appears to be a big difference in standards between producers. You need to read the fine print or at least look for the FREPA logo.